Troubled by cast and crew changes, constant script revisions and poor advance press, this oddball adaptation of the H.G. Wells story represents one of horror cinema's more interesting failures. Marlon Brando assays the title role in one of the goofiest performances of his increasingly eccentric career, playing Wells' seminal mad scientist in pristine cleric's robes, dark glasses and clown-white makeup. Veteran action director John Frankenheimer (who stepped in after Richard Stanley was removed from the project) keeps the weirdness coming at a fairly energetic clip, but the end result is a climactic overload of flashy pyrotechnics and ill-fitting action-movie setpieces that completely obscures the moral center of the original story. Wells' tale of unfettered scientific ambition seems increasingly prophetic in an era of DNA cataloguing and Dolly the sheep, which makes it all the more disappointing that this attempt to bring his message into the 21st century is destroyed by inarticulate storytelling and Hollywood high-concept blather.